Computer Cable Management

Recently, after talking with a fellow computer builder about his cable management solution, I decided to do a little cable management with my own PC. Cable management is simply re-routing wires in a PC case to make it look cleaner, and more importantly, to improve airflow in the case lowering overall temperatures.

The first thing I had to do was remove the side panel on the motherboard side of the case. At first I was a little skeptical that my case had this feature (it was a $40 Rosewill brand case , and I wasn’t expecting such a nice feature).  However, it appears that the area for wiring behind the motherboard is pretty standard, since low and behold, the side panel came right off, revealing openings near the power supply, and lower end of the case for re-routing cables.

Next, I ran all the cables (besides the dvd-rom 4-pin power connector), to the area behind the motherboard, behind the panel which I just opened. This is where I ran into the first issue. The motherboard power cable (the large black one in pictures below) was not long enough to run through the back of the case and plug into the motherboard connector. So, I had to compromise and leave this cable out front. I tied it, and the cd-rom power cable, down with zip-ties.

(click on picture for larger image)

Next was getting my components hooked up. I first ran the two 6-pin power connectors down to my video card and found they were just barely long enough to reach. I tied both the 6-pin cables together to make sure they stayed neat. So now I had to hook up the SATA power to the hard drives. This is where I ran into the second issue. Unfortunately, the second power connector on the SATA power cables was not far enough down to be of any use. Since I have 2 SATA power cables with 2 connectors each, and I could only use the first connector on each cable, I would only have 2 available power connectors for 3 SATA hard drives. So, I had to compromise again, and route one SATA power cable out front (along the large black Motherboard power cable), while leaving one  behind the motherboard.

Now that I had the hard drives supplied with power, I had to hook up the data (red and yellow SATA) cables. There wasn’t much I could do to clean up the cables, having 3 drives didn’t help. I did, however, zip-tie them to the bottom of the case, so they would not stick out so far.

A couple cables, like the  front audio (white middle) cable, and the CPU fan still go directly over the motherboard, and I could not really see any solution for this.

So, in the end there were a couple compromises I had to make, that could be fixed in the future with a higher-end power supply, or extension cables. The IDE dvd-rom cables (large blue) is still an eye-sore, and hard to move. They do sell rolled IDE cables, which I may consider picking up for future use. Overall though, I think that my first attempt at cable management turned out o.k. It certainly helped with airflow, since now my components, and overall system temperature, are all 10 celcius lower.

Feel free to comment with any cable management tips/tricks you have.

One Reply to “Computer Cable Management”

  1. Copied from my post on

    @ArmoredCavalry: Just took a look at your link and thought I’d give you a few neat tips.

    First, there is plenty of space to run the power cables behind your motherboard. I usually run the hard drive/floppy power cables behind the board at the top, and out on the right side just below the second standoff/screw. (the one halfway down the board)

    Secondly, turn your hard drives 180 degrees, so all of the connectors are pointed toward the fans, and route the cables along the edges of the drives. this makes for a much neater appearance, and prevents the cables from blocking airflow. (by along the drive I mean along the bar metal part above the connectors)

    Third, you have plenty of room to separate your hard drives. Move the middle drive up by one bay.

    Lastly, Make sure that the fan on the back of your case is blowing out, not in toward the processor. Since hot air rises, proper airflow comes in at the bottom front, and is pushed out at the top rear. you also want to make sure that the grill on the front fan stays clean, otherwise you have an airflow problem there.

    If anyone is interested, I’ll post a few snapshots of one of my systems to give you a better idea of how this looks.

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